Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Volunteering: Tony's story

I’ve done quite a bit of voluntary work in the past and I’ve found it to be a really good recovery tool; I would definitely recommend it to other people who are in recovery and looking to rebuild their confidence.

I’ve now been volunteering with Change Grow Live (CGL) for about six months and it’s going really well. I was encouraged to do a five-week motivational training course which was absolutely brilliant. The tutor showed us that it’s when we get trapped into negative thought processes that things start to go wrong, but we can control that by training the mind to think in a more positive way. It’s a bit like conning your brain really, but it works! Instead of setting yourself up to fail, you set yourself up to succeed.

The team have been really welcoming and approachable. My manager Lee really goes the extra mile to make you feel at home. He’s constantly sending me jobs or opportunities I might be interested in; he genuinely cares about my welfare. And I really like that he’s no different from one of us; he gets down with the kids - in the most appropriate way possible of course!

I definitely want to keep working in this field, so the skills I’m gaining from volunteering with Change Grow Live are really useful in helping me to pursue that goal. I like helping people to do all the little things, like signing on or filling out a job application, because I know from my own experience that it’s only when you’ve got the little things down that you can move onto bigger ambitions.

Lots of people with a history of drug use struggle with low self-esteem because you feel so guilty. Doing voluntary work gives you a challenge that helps to rebuild you physically, mentally and spiritually. It also means you’ve got much more to lose if you relapse. Knowing that someone relies on you makes it that much harder to give it all up.